I said recently that I had spent the day contacting all of my elected officials. Senator Nelson is the first to respond (except for Crist's automatic email respone). Below is the entire text of the email he sent me. Please support this legislation and keep the rigs off our beaches.
Thank you for contacting me about drilling for oil off Florida and other coastal States.
President Bush has proposed allowing drilling rigs off coastal States as a way, he says, to reduce gasoline prices. But he must know this won't happen. That's because a report from inside the Bush administration specifically shows that increasing offshore drilling won't have a significant impact on gas prices for decades.
And we simply cannot wait that long on the hope of giving Americans some relief at the pump.
To lower gas prices now by an estimated 25 to 50 percent, we must reign in the real culprits: speculators who are able, because of legal loopholes, to bid up the price of oil to unrealistic and shocking highs. Oil now costs about $140 per barrel, but recent congressional testimony from a leading industry executive showed that the price of crude should only be $55 per barrel given the laws of supply and demand. That means gas prices should be about $2.28 a gallon-- not more than $4.
This is why I have introduced legislation-- S. 3134-- that would ban unregulated speculative trading in oil futures. If Congress will pass this bill, we can bring gas prices back down to earth.
Meantime, the oil companies will claim loudly that they need to drill off the coast of Florida so they can increase the oil supply. But what they won't tell you is that they aren't drilling on nearly 32 million of acres they already have under lease from the Federal government. I think they should drill there first-- in areas where the infrastructure for transporting oil already exists-- before demanding more areas be open to leasing and drilling activities that could take years to produce a single drop of oil.
Americans are being gouged, and now is not the time to allow the administration to give away the store before it leaves office. It's time to do what's really necessary to lower the price of gas: reign in profiteers and speculators. I hope you will be able to support passage of S. 3134. Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office again.